While my scissors and thread choices are top of the line (See Sewing Tools Part 1), many of my other sewing tools are inexpensive adaptations.
Take marking on fabric–
Everyone needs a way to draw cutting and/or seam lines and dart points. And while you can buy all sorts of sewing chalk in the notions aisle of your fabric store, I like to keep it simple.
School teacher chalk is great for marking colored fabrics. It brushes off easily with your hand. For white fabrics, I use light pencil marks. And if I want a heavy dark cutting line, my dark ebony drawing pencil can’t be beat.
Another marking tool that I use all the time is blue painters’ tape. I put it on the throat plate of my machine to help keep my seams straight (great for top stitching) . I also use it to mark button hole placement before I stitch them.
And if I have a complicated project going on (think slipcover or curtains), I mark my fabric pieces with blue painters tape for easy ID.
I have two indispensable tools for turning corners: The white one is a plastic point turner from the 70s. Chopsticks are also great for pushing out corners. I use them for stuffing with fiber fill, too. Nothing works into small spaces like a wooden chopstick.
And if you’re turning corners, you have to trim first. Fray Check and similar products like Fray Block are great for keeping well trimmed points from raveling through. I also use this quick-dry liquid to “tie off” serger threads. Think of it like a dot of hot glue, without the bulk. It soaks into the fabric and works magic. Everyone who sews needs a little of that–
Next time we delve into my sewing box–needles– (Why so many needles?, my students always ask.) And my dirty little secret. Hint: It’s acid free.